Amma Chellam is an upcoming original theatre play by Anomalist Production that spotlights the difficult yet underrepresented experience of growing up “different” in a Malaysian Indian family. Adopting a first-person narrative, the play tells the coming-of-age story of 16-year-old Ajay, who must learn to accept his own identity without losing the one person who matters most to him, his mother. Written and performed in English and Tamil (with surtitles to be inclusive of non-Tamil-speaking audiences), Amma Chellam draws on real-life events and experiences to navigate tough conversations surrounding love, cultural conflicts, and parental expectations.
The main characters of Amma Chellam:
Arjun Thanaraju as Ajay
Writer and actor Arjun Thanaraju believes that Amma Chellam is a long-awaited opportunity for Malaysian Indian theatre practitioners to take ownership of their own stories and share them with the wider local audience. “We rarely see authentic Malaysian Indian stories on mainstream stages when in fact, we have so much to say. Plays like Amma Chellam give our community a voice to speak our truths,” he says. Arjun was inspired to create the play by his own relationship with his mother. “There is a line in the play where the lead character says “She isn’t just my mother, she is my best friend“. I think that perfectly describes my mother and I. We have our disagreements but when push comes to shove, no one fights for me harder than her, and vice versa,” he explains.
Recently, Arjun earned a nomination in the Best Actor category at the BMW Shorties 2023 short film festival for his leading role in Khairi’s first horror short film, “Bite Me”. When he is not at rehearsals or on set for shoots, Arjun is working towards his PhD in Neuroscience at Sunway University. Through both his work in academia and in the arts, Arjun hopes to make a positive difference, particularly for vulnerable and marginalised groups. Amma Chellam will be a milestone theatre project for Arjun.
Naveen Raja as Karthik
A Media & Communication graduate of the prestigious University Malaya, Naveen kept himself occupied with numerous dance showcases and competitions. Shouldering leadership roles in both dance and arts development in university, Naveen continues to excel in his craft both on and off stage. A versatile dancer, a singer, a creative when it comes to costume designing and the artistry that make up entails, Naveen is definitely a beautiful force to be reckoned with. Amma Chellam will be his first stage acting debut.
Desmond as Appa
Engineer by day, actor by night, Desmond is an emerging and versatile performer whose good-natured personality, unwavering creative enthusiasm and openness to exploring has made him such a wonderful actor.
Portraying various roles in short films, television series and multiple advertisements, Desmond is equipped with a wide range of talent and skill. Amma Chellam will be Desmond’s first theatre production and hopefully the first of many for this brilliant actor!
Tinesh Sarathi Krishnan as Uncle Raj
Tinesh’s love for the performing arts was nurtured at a very young age through his father, Sarathi Krishnan, a renowned stage actor who was also active in the television and radio drama scene.Tinesh began his journey into the world of filmmaking with FINAS where he attended his course in film direction and later on joined Pro Majestic, a production company where he took on a role as a crew member. Over the years, he continued to climb through the ranks, having done multiple projects and playing memorable roles in notable films such as Chicago in Jagat and Shankar in Poochandi, today Tinesh Sarathi Krishnan is a household name in the Malaysian Tamil film industry.Amma Chellam will be Tinesh’s return to the stage after years of filmmaking works!
Vicky N as Amma
Vicky is no stranger to the silver screen. Her first involvement in the entertainment world started in 1994, where she made her first appearance in an RTM 2 musical programme performing a duet and a group song for “Temasya Deepavali”.Almost three decades in, with an impressive body of work in not only film and television and a full-time job that she manages simultaneously, Vicky is first and foremost a mother. Her maternal instincts and warm nurturing character comes through during our rehearsals everytime.
Arjun Thanaraju as Ajay
THEATRE PLAY DETAILS:
90 minutes (approx.)There will be no intermission.
Blackbox , DPAC (Damansara Performing Arts Center)
Date & Time:
August 16 – 20th – 8.30 p.m
August 19- 20th – 3.30p.m
Ages 15+ and up.
Content advisory- sexual abuse, violence, graphic language, suicide.
No flash photography or videography during the show.
Audiences are advised to arrive 30 minutes prior to showtimes.